NBA Playoffs: Breaking down the Cavs-Pacers series


In the most surprising result of the 2018 National Basketball Association playoffs so far, the Indiana Pacers waltzed into Quicken Loans Arena on Sunday afternoon and beat the Cleveland Cavaliers by 18 points to take a 1-0 lead in their first-round series. Victor Oladipo is probably the league's most improved player, though they seemingly don't pose much of a threat to the Cavs. Oladipo led the Pacers' charge, posting 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals before halftime.

Pacers will snap LeBron James's streak of 21 straight first-round playoff wins.

The Cleveland Cavaliers announced every fan in attendance for Game 1 against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday will receive a black Cavs shirt.

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He's also never lost the opening game of a series, which bodes well for his latest Cavs group [VIDEO]. If anything, the loss puts more importance on the Cavaliers grabbing a win in Game 2 on Tuesday night.

When the final horn sounded, the Pacers didn't celebrate or run around the floor like they had accomplished anything special. The Cavaliers finally got one back via a 115-108 win on January 26. Only the Houston Rockets and Nets have made more 3s and expect another 3-point barrage from them in this series.

"Kevin's just being Kevin", coach Tyronn Lue said Friday after practice.

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James' teams have won 21 consecutive first-round games - the last 12 with the Cavaliers going back to a sweep of the Celtics in 2015. For Game 1 against the Pacers, Cleveland is favored to win by 6.5 points at Quicken Loans Arena. Oladipo has thrived in Indiana's offense and has set career highs in points, assists and rebounds this past season. This has immediately drawn the attention toward how James will respond to being in this situation for the first time. It wasn't close. The Pacers blew out the Cavs, 98-80, in Cleveland.

Although the Cavs have had more makeovers this year than any leading lady in Hollywood, the Pacers took three of four during the regular season. The teams split two previous playoff series with the Cavaliers holding a 5-4 edge in game victories. This year, Kyrie Irving will not be running the point. "We only have four guys left from that (2016) championship team (Love, James, Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith), but we have a lot of savvy veteran guys who have a ton of experience".

The uneven season for Cleveland Cavaliers could be salvaged with another NBA Finals appearance. The problem with using any of the data from those four games is that they all occurred prior to the trade deadline.

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It's a fairly safe bet that Game 2 won't be as ugly offensively as the opener was for Cleveland. The Indiana Pacers have a team full of roughriders and won't enter this series intimated one bit.